How should you solve old conflicts?

There are some people who seek peace, but most people are involved in conflicts, and others in many conflicts. Some conflicts are resolved quickly, but others become old and accumulate a lot of bitterness, hatred and contempt in the hearts of those involved. What are the conflicts you are in now? What are the oldest conflicts you are involved in? Don’t you want to know how you can resolve these conflicts?

In this message we will look at God’s response to us in His Word written in 1 Corinthians 6: 1-11.

Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to form the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you anyone wise who will be able to decide between his brothers and sisters, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather suffer the wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves do wrong and defraud. And this to your brothers and sisters! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:1-11 NASB)

The Christinas from Corinth were involved in a lot of conflicts. The apostle Paul wrote: ”For I have been informed concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” or “I am with Cephas,” or “I am with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:11-12) Their reason for the quarrel was not the leaders, but the spiritual immaturity of the Christians who, instead of appreciating the work and contribution of all ministers to the building of the church, attached themselves to some in order to oppose others. The same chapter further relates that the Christians were in conflict with the unbelievers, who disregarded them, did not believe them, which is still the case today. In chapter 3 the apostle Paul says that their spiritual immaturity and the quarrels that were in the church were largely caused by the evil actions of some pseudo-leaders, who provoked these quarrels, thus wanting to destroy the temple of God which is the church.

Chapter 4 of the book shows that the Corinthians were also in conflict with their spiritual father, Paul, who came and preached the gospel to them, because they no longer recognized his authority and the contribution he had made to their salvation and spiritual growth. Chapter 5 shows another great conflict that was provoked by an immoral person in the church, who lived in incest with his stepmother, and the other Christians did not confront him, leaving the whole church affected by this evil. All these conflicts were divided into two categories: 1) conflicts between Christians and unbelievers, which were fewer in number, and 2) conflicts between Christians, within the church. Chapter 6 of the book 1 Corinthians tells us the worst situation, when the conflicts in the church became so great that they went not only in the world, but right in front of the court of the Roman state.

Conflicts within the church

Conflicts arose here because those who called themselves Christians and were called to a holy life, in their business and relationships, wronged each other and harmed each other, and then did not even want to acknowledge their share of the blame. The apostle Paul says that they had wise men in the church who could resolve conflicts between them, but because they ignored the authority of the church and the authority of their leaders, they appealed to the authority of the state and judges, whom Paul says were unrighteous. And if he says so about the judgment of the Roman state, whose model is studied at any law school, then tell me, my dear ones, to whom do Christians today go when they want to resolve their conflicts? It is not right, conflicts should be resolved in the church and only in the church, because there is no authority above the church on this earth to exercise God’s justice, according to God’s law. When Christians do not recognize this authority, they will bring conflicts before human courts.

Conflicts before human courtrooms

It is interesting how the apostle qualifies these human courtrooms. From the first verse he says that it is not right for Christians to go to judgment before the unrighteous. The law of the Roman state is studied today in all law schools and all the states of the world try to make their legislation based on that Roman law which is not according to the Word of God. God’s law is ignored by men in making laws for their states. And then another problem is that even when the law of the state is fair, people who practice judgment in the legal system are often unrighteous and they cannot exercise justice. They can be bought with money, which we see happening in every country of the world, and in our country to a very large extent. I watched a documentary about a man’s wife who was trafficked, sold, and then exploited as a prostitute. It was very difficult for that man to save his wife, and when they went to court to try the offender, who was a “friend” of his, they saw how in court, where this man should normally have been sentenced to death for the crime committed, he was only asked to pay a small fine. Can you go to such a court to get justice? So, if Christians go to seek justice in human courts, in most cases they are not done justice, they are only accused and condemned and, even worse, they cause the name of Christians to be spoken of badly and people no longer want to hear the gospel. How will they feel at the final judgment, when they will have to judge the unrighteous who did not believe in the gospel precisely because of their bad testimony? Do not be one of these Christians and do not go to resolve your conflicts with other Christians before human courts. 

The judgement before the judgement seat of God

It was well known to the Corinthian Christians, and it must be equally known to all Christians, that we will judge the world according to God’s laws when they sit before God’s judgment seat. We, the saints, will also judge the angels. But it seems to me that it will be harder for us when we judge the people among whom will be our relatives to whom we have not yet gone to preach the gospel, friends, colleagues, and last but not least those judges and witnesses from the human courts before which we stood. Will they not accuse us then that precisely because of our evil testimony they could not believe in the gospel and be saved? Another question is whether all those who now consider themselves Christians will enter the Kingdom of God. Scripture clearly states that the unrighteous will not inherit this kingdom and then gives a list of practices that, if they are part of the lives of those who call themselves Christians, those people will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you are an heir of the Kingdom of God

When you are an heir of the Kingdom of God, you have only two options in resolving any conflicts you may have in the church. Option A is to seek resolution of the conflict when you are wronged. Seek to settle with the person who wronged you. If the conflicts are not resolved in this way, then go with the person to the spiritual leaders of the church so that they can judge among you and resolve this situation and remove the conflict. But if the other part does not accept the decision of the church court and wants to appeal to the human seat of justice, i.e. to the state justice, then apply option B – rather be defrauded. Compared to the inheritance you have in heaven, the Bible says that the thing in which you will be defrauded is “of very little significance.” There is no other option… You cannot accept to go and judge before the unrighteous and do not accept this under any pretext or reason.

Come to inherit the Kingdom of God

You may consider yourself a Christian because you come to church every Sunday, because you tithe, but at the same time you have a double lifestyle. If someone wanted to do business with you, you acted cunningly and greedily and wronged your partner. Holy Scripture tells you not to be misled! You cannot inherit and you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Or maybe in the hidden part of your life there are such practices as: fornication, adultery, sodomy, theft, greed, drunkenness, slander, conflict, etc. You cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, do not be deceived! Such were some of the Corinthians before, but they came to the Lord Jesus with repentance, and by being born again they were washed of their sins, sanctified, and justified. Now they are heirs of the Kingdom of God. Come and be an heir! Accept Christ today. Confess your sins and leave them to live a holy life. Stop being deceived!

May God help us to be a good witness to His Name and then to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven!

Translated by Liza Bîrlădeanu